Tea Party gatherings are being used by white supremacist and other hate groups to recruit members and spread their ideas, according to a new study by the NAACP. The "links between certain Tea Party factions and acknowledged racist hate groups in the US should give all patriotic Americans pause," warns the reports by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights. The head of the NAACP in a forward to the report called on the party's leadership to "distance themselves" from those within the party who "espouse racist ideas, advocate violence or are formally affiliated with white supremacist" organizations.
"The danger is not that the majority of Tea Party members share their views, but that left unchecked, these extremists might indirectly influence the direction of the Tea Party and therefore the direction of our country," writes Ben Jealous. Tea Party representatives blasted the findings. "The claim of racism is so stupid it defies response," said Sal Russo, a Sacramento-based Republican political consultant who created the Tea Party Express. "The movement has nothing to do with race whatsoever." Gary Dunn, a contributor to the party's Free Republic website, said moderators quickly remove any posted racist comments, reports the Guardian.